9 things you never noticed in the reunion movie 'Return to Mayberry'

Did you notice Don's daughter and Judy Jetson?

In the Eighties, America missed Mayberry. The proof is in the rating. When Return to Mayberry aired in 1986, the special became the most-watched TV movie of the year.

Reunions and reboots can be tricky propositions, but this sequel lived up to its name. It was not merely a reunion of the cast. Director Bob Sweeney had helmed 80 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, while writers Harvey Bullock and Everett Greenbaum were responsible for some of the greatest Mayberry tales such as "The Pickle Story" and "The Mayberry Band." No wonder the formula remained intact.

Now, you can revisit the reunion on MeTV. Return to Mayberry serves as the fitting conclusion to The Month of Mayberry on Friday, May 28, 2021, at 8PM | 7C.

Let's take a closer look at one of the greatest television reunions!

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1. The original Mayberry had been destroyed.

In the sixties, filming of The Andy Griffith Show took place on the 40 Acres Studio Lot in Culver City, California, the hub for Desilu Production. This is why you can spot familiar Mayberry businesses and streets in other Desilu shows such as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. However, in 1976, the entire facility was demolished. Hey, at least they didn't blow up Mayberry for an exploitation film. That meant when production began on Return to Mayberry a decade later in 1986, a new Mayberry needed to be constructed. Try to spot the differences. It's particularly noticeable in the closing shot, when Andy and Barney raise the American flag on a street that stretched to the horizon.

2. Judy Jetson was the voice of Aunt Bee.

Frances Bavier had retired from acting following her time on Mayberry, R.F.D. In fact, she had moved to North Carolina — to a small town not far from the fictional Mayberry! Some claim that Bavier did not reprise her role as Aunt Bee in Return to Mayberry for health reasons (she passed away three years later in 1989) while others speculate she was merely not interested. Thus, Aunt Bee does not appear in the reunion movie, though her voice is heard. That is actually Janet Waldo performing as Bee. You know the cartoon legend best as Judy Jetson, Pearl Slaghoople, Penelope Pitstop, Josie the Pussycat and more! She did physically appear in Mayberry, too, in the Andy Griffith Show episode "A Wife for Andy."

3. Karen Knotts, daughter of Don, has a role in the movie.

Karen Knotts continues to carry on the legacy of her father to this day, touring her one-woman comedy show. She also has a small resume of television roles, including early guest spots on Eight Is Enough and One Day at a Time. You can find her in Return to Mayberry as Opie's receptionist!

4. Ron Howard's dad marries Barney and Thelma.

Indeed, Return to Mayberry is a family affair! Rance Howard was no stranger to The Andy Griffith Show, having been around the set often with his sons, Ron (Opie) and Clint (Leon). You probably remember him best as the governor's driver in "Barney and the Governor." He's also driving (a bus) in "Cousin Virgil." Spot him in "A Black Day for Mayberry" and "The Rumor," too!

5. Barney switched to driving a Chevy.

Ford supplied the Mayberry police cruisers in the original series. Sheriff Taylor's squad cars were always Ford Galaxie 500s. Well, after Andy moved to Cleveland (yep, that's the backstory in Return to Mayberry) the town must have switched suppliers. Barney now drives a 1981 Chevy Malibu.

6. It's just the third time Goober and Gomer appear together.

They may be cousins, but they are not as close as it seems when it comes to sharing the screen. Goober (George Lindsey) made his debut in the 1964 episode "Fun Girl." You remember the scene — "Judy! Judy! Judy!" Surprisingly, this is the only time Gomer and Goober appear together on The Andy Griffith Show! "A Visit from Cousin Goober" reunited the two again on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. in 1965. At last, in Return to Mayberry, the cousins are closer than ever, running a gas station together.

7. It was the final TV role in character for George Lindsey.

Speaking of Goober, Return to Mayberry would prove to the television swan song in character for actor George Lindsey. Well, there was one brief reprise in an unlikely place. Nashville Now was a talk show on the Nashville Network in the early Nineties. In 1991, an entire episode was devoted to The Andy Griffith Show, with the stars as guests, as the cast was in town for a reunion. Lindsey, Hal Smith and Betty Lynn slipped into character for a short skit. He would later make a couple of cameos as "himself" on Vicki! and NewsRadio in the 1990s.

8. A certain Taylor child seems to be missing.

Remember this baby? Samuel Taylor? Child of Andy and Helen Taylor? He was first seen in "Andy's Baby," an episode of Mayberry R.F.D. Opie's kid brother would have been around 17 years old in Return to Mayberry. However, no mention is made of the boy, nor is he seen.

9. Some notorious Mayberry criminals went straight.

In "The Christmas Story," early in the episode, Andy and Barney sit and read holiday cards. The Hubachers, a trio of brothers locked up in state prison, send one to the cops. We see a close-up of the card, which reads, "Greetings from state prison." Well, the Hubachers must have reformed after two decades. Look for Hubacker's Hardware Store in Return to Mayberry! They're now businessmen, presumably!

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WilliamUchtman 4 months ago
So many actors that could have made minor cameos: Lou Ann Poovie as Gomer's wife, Ellie Walker in semi-retirement at a new drugstore, Leon and his son on a bench in a scene, Rafe Hollister in a scene at the lake, Opie's wife should have been Mary Alice Carter (Morgan Brittany). We didn't even see photos of Aunt Bea, Floyd, Clara or Mayor Stoner.
MarthaWashington 4 months ago
Unfortunately, I found it was on almost half way through. I don't really remember the movie from the original showing, but from what I caught, it was so sad to see the actors try to reclaim the vitality they had in their younger days. Don Knotts was about 62 years old and Andy Griffith 60. I found the movie character rolls forced, shallow, with no redeeming value. Although it was nice seeing the whole cast together again, Charlene still after Andy, Brisco still jug playing, Ernest T....Then when Barney FINALLY marries Thema Lou...first..she was married at their high school reunion..divorced, widow? Marriage ceremony in a BARN...seems like could have replayed the ceremony in their church, even though Reverend Tucker moved on. I am going to watch for it to be replayed and further my knowledge of the film. It always doesn't seem like old times are always better
auburnray 4 months ago
Had a date night with my girl. We loved this movie! Never seen it.
Pacificsun 5 months ago
Well I noticed that it's awful! There's no continuity in the story. Just an excuse for some of the people we remember to be in it. But basically out of their character. The job Andy went to, doesn't make sense. If Barney is going to be the Sheriff now, then he should have some kind of issue going on. So that Andy returning to Mayberry can make a difference for him. Instead, he's just talking to "Juanita." (Who cares). Part of the problem is how the thing is edited (put together, it's all over the place). Even the character Ernest T. Bass was wasted. He was high up on the pole, and they should've figured a way for him to drop-line down to the ground. Goober looks older than he should be. And they should've included a special tribute (maybe a flashback scene) for Aunt Bee. But she just seems forgotten.

Oh an by the way, 30 minutes into it, MeTV's transmission cut out on it. How do I know ... MeTV posted the Stand-By card.

You guys blew the finale night, sorry!
JoeyZone11 5 months ago
Just saw "Man in a Hurry" tonight. That episode was epic!!
Stoney 5 months ago
Poor little Samuel Taylor got the Chuck Cunningham treatment....

RedjacArbez Stoney 5 months ago
Not a chance...Ron Howard As both Opie and RItchie is a serial Killer...More screen time...Notice Leon was not in the movie???? I wonder why!!!
concon6286 5 months ago
I simply adore The Andy and Barney and Opie and Aunt Bee. I grew up watching all of the shows on MeTv that's why my TV in my bedroom stays on channel 21
MaryLangston 5 months ago
I really enjoyed all of Andy & Barney shows. Loved Opey. I enjoy watching the reruns on MEtv
OlgaBagley MaryLangston 5 months ago
Mary You & I think alike & FYI if you got. tv land they play a lot of Andy Griffith shows Some in Color& Some in B&W
jokerfan1 5 months ago
I wish that there had been a reunion
Movie of Gomer Pyle USMC in 1986
Reuniting Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors)
Lou Ann Poovie(Elizabeth MacRae)
Duke Slater (Ronnie Schell)
Cpl Boyle (Roy Stuart) Sgt Hacker
Allan Melvin)And Bunny ( Barbara
Stuart) Lester Hummel)P

jokerfan1 jokerfan1 5 months ago
Lester Hummel was played by
William Christopher on Gomer
Pyle USMC and if there had been a reunion movie of Gomer Pyle USMC in 1986 Colonel Gray (Forrest Compton) should have been included in the movie but
Unfortunately there never was a
Reunion movie of Gomer Pyle
USMC.Its too bad that Gomer
Pyle's girlfriend Lou Ann Poovie Elizabeth MacRae was not included in Return To Mayberry.
jokerfan1 jokerfan1 5 months ago
Hope Summers (Clara Edwards)
Passed away in 1979 ; Howard
McNear (Floyd Lawson) passed away in1969 and Paul Hartman
(Emmett Clark) passed away in
1973.The characters Clara Edwards ; Floyd Lawson and
Emmett Clark were all great
Characters on TAGS and Mayberry RDD were missed in
Return to Mayberry.
Mayor Roy Stoner Warren Ferguson Sam Jones and
Millie Swanson were also missed.I lso liked Ellie Walker
(Elinor Donahue) and Peggy
MAC Millan on TAGS.
On Gomer Pyle USMC Liked the entire cast but my favourites
Characters were Lou
jokerfan1 jokerfan1 5 months ago
My favourite characters on
Gomer Pyle USMC were :
Lou Ann Poovie Elizabeth MacRae
Cpl Boyle .
OlgaBagley jokerfan1 5 months ago
The only thing I didn’t like about GP is Carter is always Yelling & Putting Gomer down
harlow1313 5 months ago
I seem to be one of the rare show fans that does not care for this reunion.

I don't like the contrivances and clumsy story lines used to include the many characters. This was a bit saccharine for my tastes.
MrsPhilHarris harlow1313 5 months ago
Oh it was lame but I enjoyed it.
Andybandit 5 months ago
Interesting things about the Return to Mayberry. I like the Return to Mayberry movie.
JHP 5 months ago
#8 they still had script continuities problems - yikes (the kid looks like Juanita:))
marjean JHP 5 months ago
Juanita was never actually seen . Fans only know of her as a waitress that Barney talked to on the phone on occasion.
MusicLover3889 11 months ago
Ellie, Warren, and Sam were also MIA for the movie. It was awesome seeing Otis completely sober.
It would of been nice to include Ellie in this movie she was very much a good part of Mayberry and l liked her character
rba 16 months ago
Thelma Lou had married someone else, in an earlier episode.
MusicLover3889 Sandi 11 months ago
That marriage only turned out to last 18 months.
DMorrison 17 months ago
I love the Andy Griffith show. I watch it every night it never gets old. Saw the movie on Saturday and it didnt disappoint. I loved it. Never saw it before. I did miss Aunt Bee wish she would have been in the movie.
salisbury62 17 months ago
Haven't seen this in a long time its corny but great.
Greg 17 months ago
The town that stood in for Mayberry, Los Olivos, Ca is also where Fess(Danial Boone)Parker's winery is located.
GordARebelato 17 months ago
I seen it when it first came out. It was not very memorable as I do not remember much of it. I will watch it later tonight.
Momoflove4 17 months ago
I’m really looking forward to seeing it. I still watch The Andy Griffith show to this day in the evenings on Netflix. There aren’t any decent programs on nowadays. I just love this show!!!!
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